LIVE: White Sox trail Price, Rays 4-0

439258.jpg

LIVE: White Sox trail Price, Rays 4-0

Monday, April 18, 2011Posted: 11:50 Am
Associated Press

It has been just over a week since the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox last met, but much has changed for both teams.

The Rays look to win for the sixth time in seven games and hand the slumping White Sox their sixth defeat in seven contests when they open a four-game series at Tropicana Field on Monday night.

Chicago (7-8) took three of four from Tampa Bay (6-9) at U.S. Cellular Field from April 7-10, part of a 6-3 start to the season. The White Sox hit .295 while plating 22 runs, as Paul Konerko went 7 for 14 with a pair of solo homers and four RBIs.

Chicago's offense hasn't had much success since the Rays left town, batting .212 and totaling 18 runs while dropping five of six.

"It seems like we were all hot at one time and now we're all slumping at the same time," designated hitter Adam Dunn said following Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. "We have to get back on track."

Dunn has been in the middle of the team's struggles, batting .105 with a homer and 11 strikeouts in 19 at-bats in five games since having his appendix removed.

"I don't feel bad. I feel fine, I just stink," Dunn said. "We're not in any panic mode. We know what we're capable of doing."

The Rays' record was 1-8 after their series against the White Sox, but they won five straight immediately after leaving Chicago, totaling 32 runs in those games. The winning streak ended Sunday with a 4-2 loss to Minnesota.

Johnny Damon was instrumental for the Rays, driving in the winning run in all five games of the streak while batting .348 with two homers and 10 total RBIs, but he left Sunday's game with a bruise on the tip of his left ring finger. He's listed as day-to-day.

"It's very sore," Damon said. "I wanted to try and tough out the game, but thought it was best if I came in and started icing it. At this point, I can't guarantee anything on whether or not I'll be in there (Monday). Time will tell."

Damon is batting .190 lifetime against Edwin Jackson (2-0, 2.89 ERA), Chicago's scheduled starter.

Jackson pitched brilliantly against the Rays on April 7, allowing one run and four hits while striking out a career-high 13 and walking one in eight innings of a 5-1 win. The right-hander, who pitched for Tampa Bay from 2006-08, has posted a 1.44 ERA while winning all three career starts against his former team.

Probable Tampa Bay starter David Price (1-2, 3.92) has had no such luck against Chicago.

Price, who opposed Jackson at U.S. Cellular Field less than two weeks ago, yielded three runs and nine hits in six innings. He has lost all four of his starts against the White Sox, with a 4.88 ERA.

Chicago center fielder Alex Rios has given Price the biggest problems. He doubled twice off Price earlier this month, and is 7 for 11 with two homers lifetime in their matchups.

Price, a 19-game winner last season, earned his first victory of 2011 on Tuesday, allowing two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of 3-2 win at Boston. He finally got a little help, as his offense had failed backed him with any runs of support in his first two outings.

Following his gem against the Rays, Jackson was shaky versus Oakland on Tuesday. He allowed three runs and seven hits and needed 100 pitches to go 4 2-3 innings, although the White Sox eventually won 6-5 in 10.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

[Buy White Sox tickets right here]

Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."